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Old 10-19-2014, 02:57 PM   #1
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Converting non External Gray Water

Hello all! I just purchased a 1968 Streamline Duke that I'm going to convert into a hair salon. It currently does not have a gray water tank... I was wondering if I could rig up a non external gray tank out of a 1987 Airstream as an external (sitting on the ground underneath/outside) tank? I really don't want to rip the flooring out of the trailer so I was hoping to have everything external. :-/
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Old 10-19-2014, 03:02 PM   #2
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Hello all! I just purchased a 1968 Streamline Duke that I'm going to convert into a hair salon. It currently does not have a gray water tank... I was wondering if I could rig up a non external gray tank out of a 1987 Airstream as an external (sitting on the ground underneath/outside) tank? I really don't want to rip the flooring out of the trailer so I was hoping to have everything external. :-/
That's more trouble than it's worth. Thetford makes an excellent line of portable waste tanks with connections for a slinky, normally called "Blue Boys". They've got wheels, and a towing handle (that can slip over a hitch ball for slow-speed towing behind a car to a dump station within the campground). Blue Boys come in several sizes; ideally, you'd want one at least as large as your fresh tank, so that when you're using water from the tank there's no danger of overflowing your Blue Boy; just dump the Blue Boy at the same time you fill the fresh tank.
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Old 10-19-2014, 03:03 PM   #3
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Is this going to be a traveling hair solon, or a stationary one?
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Old 10-19-2014, 03:15 PM   #4
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Is this going to be a traveling hair salon, or a stationary one?
If it's stationary, no tanks at all would be needed; just plumb it straight to a municipal sewer or a septic system and don't bother with an external tank. If you have an external tank, it still has to be dumped when it gets full, and that brings you back to the Blue Boy.
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Old 10-19-2014, 03:23 PM   #5
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I assume you'll be traveling, otherwise there would be no need for a gray tank of any kind, simply hook into a sewer.

In most places you travel hooking up to a standard sewer cleanout shouldn't be a huge issue. Again, I'm making the assumption that to make a living doing hair, you can't go to single appointments simply because of the cost of fuel and the lost time between appointments. (8 appointments vs 4 hours of drive time and 3-4 appointments daily).

So, If you are going to be mobile, I'd think that senior living centers, assisted living communities, etc. would be part of your stock and trade and that you'll be working in a paved parking lot. I'd recommend that you consider a Sewer Solution to drain the water - you can go hundreds of feet if you're even slightly uphill from the drain, and it's still reasonable to stow in terms of space. A blueboy for the odd place will work too, but dragging it to a cleanout to drain will be undoable unless you unhitch the trailer.

Other issues: Hot water, fresh water, handicap access.

A six gallon water heater will do 1-2 shampoos. Recovery time is only 5-10 minutes, but hair dressing is water intensive. If there's room for a 10 gallon tank, do it, or consider a tankless model (expensive for inside a trailer.

The older trailers typically have 30 gallons of fresh water or less, so you'll need to be able to hook up to a water hose or carry a bladder/tank in you truck to extend the supply.

How wide is the door? Handicap access isn't likely to be doable at all for a wheelchair. You'll need a ramp and something to eliminate any lip on the bottom of the door, and railing(s) / grab bars for people who have limited mobility. (Able bodied people who drive will be able to come to you.)

Paula
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Old 10-19-2014, 03:26 PM   #6
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If you were to wash hair you would fill any tank you might have with one customer. I think you should rethink you needs and limit your location to those having a sewer connection. I doubt any campground on septic would welcome you either.

There are some States out west that will allow gray water to go directly on the ground but even there they may question the products you are using.
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Old 10-19-2014, 08:15 PM   #7
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Thank you for the responses!

Here's some more detail...

Here in Austin there are lots all over that food trucks are crowding onto. I will probably try to get into one of these lots and just stay put. Most (but not all) of the lots have electric and fresh water hook ups, but the trucks are responsible for their gray water disposal. Some trucks pay a service to come by and pick up their gray water which can get costly, while others take their gray water away somewhere else themselves. My gray water will be shampoo only (no conditioner, no hair chemicals) and it will probably be shampoo that is natural/earth-friendly. The city allows for that type of gray water to be poured out into your yard, so I was thinking of purchasing this 45 gallon gray tank (it cost much less than one of the official portable tanks) off of Craigslist and rigging it up on the ground underneath the trailer, then using something like a water pump to pump the water out of it into the old black water tank that is being pulled out of the Streamline, that will be sitting in the back of my pick up truck, where I can then drive home and water my plants. Another reason for not wanting to drop over $300 dollars on an official portable gray tank is because it could be highly likely that it would be something that would end up walking away in the middle of the night.
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Old 10-19-2014, 08:49 PM   #8
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Sounds like a good plan to me.
Are you going to have two ac units to make sure you have adequate cooling?

Dan
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Old 10-19-2014, 09:40 PM   #9
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Sounds like a good plan to me.
Are you going to have two ac units to make sure you have adequate cooling?

Dan
The guy I bought it from fixes these things up for a living and he is currently installing a brand new roof mounted ac/heat pump in the trailer that he said will make the trailer feel like a meat locker.
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Old 10-20-2014, 08:47 AM   #10
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Sounds like a plan as long as the tank in the truck is greater than 45 gallons. If not consider a 55 gallon drum.
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Old 10-20-2014, 09:05 AM   #11
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Sounds like a plan as long as the tank in the truck is greater than 45 gallons. If not consider a 55 gallon drum.
One thing to remember: Water weighs 8.34 pounds per gallon. A full 55-gallon steel drum weighs close to 500 pounds (empty weight is about 40 pounds).

This idea could work pretty well if you had a cradle in the back of the truck to carry the drum horizontally, with the filler cap on the top of the drum oriented so that it's at the 12-o'clock position in the cradle, and the vent (which would be at the 6-o'clock position with the drum laid horizontally in the cradle) is fitted with a faucet to which a garden hose can be attached. You wouldn't be able to fill the drum quite all the way with the filler opening on the end, but that's fine.
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Old 10-20-2014, 09:48 AM   #12
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If we are in the design phase here mount the drum crossways behind the cab and off center to the passenger side. This will move the weight forward, leave as much room as possible in the truck bed and allow room on one end for your valves. I would valve both input and output as you will have to open each every time you fill or empty.
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Old 10-22-2014, 10:12 AM   #13
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Does anyone have experience with these large (the one I'm looking at holds 150 gallons) flexible bladders? I'm thinking that I could use that in the back of my truck and pump my gray water into to it... maybe I could also use one as the gray tank under the trailer? I like that they can be rolled up and are lighter in weight.
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Old 11-05-2014, 12:05 PM   #14
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Water Storage Bag 60 Gallon AQUATANK II - Water Bags & Water Bladders

I'm thinking about using a couple of these for my gray water set up, one on the ground under the trailer, with one to pump water into the back of my truck. They come with one male and one female hose attachments with no vent... is a vent necessary if I'm going to be using a pump?
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